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This Denver restaurant thinks tacos should never cost more than $5

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This Denver restaurant thinks tacos should never cost more than $5

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Editor’s note: This is part of The Know’s series, Staff Favorites. Each week, we offer our opinions on the best that Colorado has to offer for dining, shopping, entertainment, outdoor activities and more. (We’ll also let you in on some hidden gems).


The key ingredient to a perfect street taco: simplicity. You don’t need to pile on a bunch of toppings, which ultimately end up masking the flavor of the grilled or braised meat. Taco aficionados, especially Mexico City native Hugo Santana, know that authenticity shines brighter than modern-day frills.

Sitting on Alameda Avenue, La Calle Taqueria y Carnitas, a bright orange hut with only a flailing banner featuring images of tacos for a sign, churns out some of my favorite street tacos. Plenty of other Denverites agree: It was in the top 16 of our 2022 taco March Madness bracket, and Yelp listed it as one of the top 100 taco joints in the country that same year.

Santana opened La Calle at 1565 W. Alameda Ave. in 2012, missing the taquerias on every street corner that he grew up with in Mexico City. But his Mexico City empire in Denver first started with a food truck on Federal Boulevard in 2004, where he sold tortas (Mexican sandwiches) and fresh-pressed juice.

Santana then went on to open Las Tortugas, a torta restaurant with currently six locations across the metro area. La Calle is located down the street from his first Mexican sandwich spot on Alameda Avenue to avoid having a fast food restaurant for a neighbor, according to longtime manager Eduardo Flores, who runs all of Santana’s restaurants.

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